Where are you going for Thanksgiving? According to this article in the New York Times, “Pumpkin Pie in Miami:Thanksgiving Flight Patterns“, people are increasingly seeking out warm places, such as Miami and Las Vegas, to relax away from relatives.
Actually, if you look closely at the article, they acknowledge that their data comes from searches for airline flights, rather than actual purchases. Which says to me that people dream about a relaxing Thanksgiving vacation, but they may actually go spend Thanksgiving with their family.
If you do spend Thanksgiving with family or any people you’re dreading seeing, know that you can’t change their behavior. The only behavior you can change is your own. As Michael Collins is quoted as saying in the 1996 movie of the same name, “The only weapon we have is our refusal,” i.e., your refusal to participate in unpleasant behavior patterns.
Here are some things you can do to help yourself.
- Visualize yourself as something strong, sturdy, impervious, or alternatively as something quick, flexible, and cleverly evasive. Given where I live, and that my father was a mountaineer who climbed Mount Rainier many times, I visualize myself as Mount Rainier: with the wide firm base, home, implacable. Or you could see yourself as your favorite river, that flows around rocks and sand bars and keeps on going.
- Practice bland, innocuous, and defusing things to say. I’ve got a list at 10 Defusing Responses for any Explosive Conversation. My favorites? “That sounds perfectly reasonable,” and “I beg your pardon?” The best thing is seeing the baffled, poleaxed look on their face when they don’t realize what you’ve done but they’re not getting the fight they wanted.
- Enjoy what you can enjoy. Look for anything beautiful, listen for any pleasant sounds, think about one thing that’s better than alternatives. My pick for this year is, I don’t have to prepare the food!
If all else fails, pretend you’re in Miami or Las Vegas, enjoying yourself in the sun.
And truly, may you have a Happy Thanksgiving!